tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC August 18, 2011 4:00am-5:00am EDT
my new book is called "sister citizen," now, "the rachel maddow show" is up next. >> best thing about coming home from my vacation was seeing your book on my desk. it was a great present and it's a great read, so thank you for that. and thanks for you at home for joining us this hour. we have breaking news out of the midwest. what appears to be an unexpected result from the wisconsin elections last night where two incumbent democrats won. late today, what seems to be an unexpected repercussion from wisconsin in the not quite neighboring state of ohio. for context, here's what happened in wisconsin this year that turned the word wisconsin into a democratic and liberal rallying cry for 2011. last november, as in many states, the republicans won hugely in wisconsin's election,
the new republican governor decided although he had not campaigned on the issue of union rights, he would use his new power as governor and the big republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature to strip union rights in wisconsin. wisconsin, in turns out, is pretty attached to his union rights and so huge, no, really, huge crowds took to the streets of madison and to the state capitol building itself this winter and spring protesting governor walker and the republicans' action. the largest demonstrations at the state capitol in history. the state senate's democrats hatched a plan to stop the republicans from passing the union-stripping measure by themselves fleeing the state so the wisconsin senate could not get a quorum, so the senate would not be allowed to vote on or pass anything. ultimately on march 9 of this year by unprecedented and dodgy procedural means, the wisconsin republicans did figure out how to pass the union-stripping bill anyway.
every republican in the wisconsin senate except one voted for it. all of them but one. wisconsin who supports union rights were so angry they organized recall elections against six republican state senators who were eligible to be recalled. conservative groups said they too would launch recalls against the democrats, because those democrats had left the state. as of last night, all of those elections are over, in the end, none of the democrats were recalled and two of the republicans were. if you do the math on that, the ultimate cost of the big scott walker union-stripping adventure of 2011 is the wisconsin senate used to have five more republicans in it than democrats. now the republican margin is not five but just one. it's only 17 republicans to 16 democrats in the wisconsin senate now, and one of those 17 republicans, this is important, is the republican senator who voted against all his
colleagues, who voted against the union-stripping law. so thanks to the recalls, there is now a majority in the wisconsin senate against stripping union rights. john nichols at the nation wrote about it today, on the issue that started this standoff in wisconsin on the union-stripping wall, the senate majority is now at odds with the governor on the issue that provoked the mass demonstrations against the governor's agenda as well as the recalls. tada! so on tonight's breaking news, perhaps taking a gander to his northwest at these results in wisconsin at what scott walker has wrought in his home state, fellow newbie anti-union rights governor of ohio today made a remarkable about face. kasich and ohio's republicans passed their own union-stripping law in ohio in march. voter anger in ohio against that action was harnessed towards a recall election not for state
senators but rather for the law itself, a referendum to repeal the state union-stripping law. that rallied with more than 900,000 valid signatures, quadruple the number of signatures it needed to get on the voting. an astonishing 24 point margin. with that kind of response in ohio already and just hours after it was announced that the last two wisconsin democrats up for recall won their races by large margins last night, today ohio's republican governor and republican legislative leaders raised the white flag. >> possibly be avoided is in the best interest of everyone. >> in what the a.p. described as a hastily called afternoon press conference, john kasich and the republican legislative leaders
said today that now, now they are willing to talk about maybe softening their law stripping union rights. they law stripping union rights which they passed this spring with zero negotiation with the affected workers and zero democratic votes of the now governor kasich and republicans in the ohio state legislature say they'd like to talk about softening some of the law's provisions in exchange for the cancelling of the planned referendum on that law in november. if it looked like i was slated to lose an election by 24 points, i'd probably get that election cancelled too. the reaction from the state democrats and we are ohio, who's been organizing the referendum, the reaction has so far been -- it's been tough as in they are not quite saying yeah, tough, but almost. "the time to negotiate was
during the legislative process, not 197 days after the bill was first introduced. unfortunately, it has taken too long for the governor and gop leaders to acknowledge they overreached." that was from the senate democratic leader today. we are ohio says if republicans are now having second thoughts about the bill they passed, then they should repeal it themselves or they should just watch the voters repeal it on november 8th. joining us now is the democratic minority leader, armond budish, thanks for joining us, nice to see you, sir. what's your reaction when you heard the news governor kasich and the republicans were offering now to compromise on the union-stripping bill, that they want the referendum to not go aahead. >> my reaction was wow, they are finally admitting senate bill 5 was a bad bill. the people of ohio have tried to tell them that for months. we had thousands of people show up at the state house to tell the republicans this is a bad bill.
they didn't listen. not only didn't they listen, they locked the doors to the state house, they didn't want people coming in to talk to them of the they didn't listen when the democrats stood up on the floor of the senate and the house and objected to this bill, they didn't listen when 1.3 million people in ohio signed petitions expressing their disgust with senate bill 5. now they'll listen after a couple of things have happened, one, the wisconsin recalls have not to the liking of the republicans, and two is the polls in ohio, as you mentioned, are showing that senate bill 5 is going to be rejected by the people of ohio soundly. >> the issue of the connection between the wisconsin issue and the ohio issue, obviously, the stripping of union rights in both states pursued in much the same way by these similar governors in roughly the same time frame generating the same reaction, wisconsin and ohio, strong union states.
we called up we are wisconsin today. we asked what they thought about governor kasich's actions, last night ended a period where scott walker paid a enormous political price, earning himself sky high disapproval numbers for his attacks on middle class working families. if john kasich's decision to back peddle wins, the very next day is a pure coincidence, it's a pretty stunning one. >> you're right, rachel. >> do you agree with them this seems to be connected? >> what we're seeing in ohio and wisconsin and other places around the country is a sound rejection of the union, the attacks on the middle class, the attacks on labor, the attacks on police, the attacks on fire, the attacks on teachers, nurses, attacks on the middle class, and a whole range of issues, and people are fed up and they are expressing that in wisconsin
through the recalls and are going to express that in ohio on the referendum. >> the referendum would be a full repeal of s.b. 5, that bill would be totally repealed by the referendum. the law is on ice. do you think there's any chance that democrats and groups like we are ohio and the unions will agree to scrap the referendum and instead start negotiating with the governor and republicans now, now that it seems they have a new take on the negotiations? >> rachel, when governor kasich was first elected, he stated public because he was angry that the teachers in particular had not supported him as much as he'd like, he said i will not talk to the teachers, i will not meet with the teachers until they take out a full-page ad apologizing for -- to me. they should apologize for demon
demoning and attacking teachers, police officers, nurses, for the last six months. they should repeal senate bill 5, they should start the process now the way it should have been done, inviting all the people in the room, not just passing it in the dark of night like they did senate bill 5, putting it through without asking input from teachers, police officers, firefighters, they just did it. that's the way you don't pass a bill. they should give us a fresh start, repeal the law, apologize, then we'll sit down and talk the way it should have been done. >> armond budish, democratic minority leader in the state of ohio. congratulations are due to you tonight for at least this tactical victory. good luck with your ongoing work with this and keep in touch. >> thank you, rachel for publicizing it.
you would think saving the world from nuclear annihilation, preventing criminals would be good politics for everybody. you would not be right. the heroics we learned about today and the political effort to defund those heroics is the next sort of astonishing story we have for you tonight. from b? with olay get what you love at half the price with new olay body collections, tantalizing fragrances and olay moisturizing ingredients that transform lathering into lavishing. olay body collections.
of the republican committee, michael steele, mr. chairman, very nice to see you. >> welcome back from vacation, looking tan and rested. >> that's just discoloration from the uv raies from my monitor. it's been a couple of months now, i want your honest impression of what is it like here in 2011 arguing day and night with liberals on msnbc. >> it is absolutely very exciting. sometimes i sit there and go they really believe this stuff. god help us. it's great. >> what do you think about the quality of the discussion? >> the quality is good, it's important, it's a chance to prevent a different position, viewpoint, and go back and forth in exchange, like coming on here. reverend al and i get heated, we are both passionate, but it's still a good discussion that i think is good, i think it's healthy, refreshing, and i think the people take away from it what they want, but they can put
the whole thing together and decide what works best for them. that's what the government needs to do right now, get out and find the mushy middle that everyone hates to go to and actually get something done, and that includes the president, that includes the leadership in the house and the senate, because the country right now is on the precipice, i was talking with someone earlier about the future and how we are mortgaging the future in a way that the next generation has nothing to look forward to, when you have kids graduating without jobs, home owners foreclosuring, people trying to make their ends meet from paycheck to paycheck, the grownups do need to show up, and the discussion i've been involved with the last couple of months has been exciting about that. >> do you feel the outcome -- i feel i'm glad we have multiple parties and partisan discussions, i'm glad there's an opportunity to sharpen our thinking and arguments about different world views, but i think that is something that definitely happens in these discussions. >> it does. >> you sharpen the differences. all the discussions the last couple of months, do you feel
the conversations ever end with okay, we agree on that or we agree to move forward. >> a few of them do, a few of them do. for example, governor randle and i understand the politics well but we also recognize something very fundamental that when you stand before the people and swear the oath of office, you are no longer the partisan, you are the public servant, you are the public representation of the people, and that changes the agenda, so as you look at this presidential race, for example, and for both the president and for those who are challenging him, you've got to keep in the back of your mind that moment when you take that oath of office, and that was a lot of the aspiration people had placed in barack obama because he talked about being different.
what happened, he got to washington and got consumed by the process. in my view, he handed over to the very leadership in the house, for example, that was used to working all those machinations and back room deals to try to get something done, but the reality was people were looking for something different. >> you got to get things through congress. >> where does that begin, down old street or a new main way to go, and i think the people, whether you like the tea party or not, whether you agree with the progressive movement you've been talking about in wisconsin, the people are beginning to show some pathways and some light on the subject of how they want the government and the leadership to begin to solve these problems. >> on both sides, and i very rarely say on both sides, because i don't think progressive movement and the conservative movement are a mirror image of each other, but i don't think what happened in wisconsin and what's about to happen in ohio and you look at the impact of the tea party movement, both of those movements are good at displaying anger with what politicians are doing. but in neither case are you seeing a constructive proposal
of this is what we prefer the budget to be. >> it gets their attention. >> it's an accountability. >> that's the first step. like anything, that's the first step. i got to get your attention and let you know i'm ticked off. i gal vonized through the crazy phrase, fire pelosi, okay, what does that mean? well, it meant something different for a lot of people, but in many respects, we needed to change congress, and the way you begin to change congress was to change the leadership of the how do you do that, you get the people's attention by going out and stating your case. that's what you've seen in wisconsin and that's why you see what's happening in ohio right now. ohio is not wisconsin. >> don't you think that kasich is recalibrating because of what happened in wisconsin? less than 4 24 hours. >> look at the political makeup of the district that comprise the state and the democratic influence and power. those districts were largely
republican districts that were on the table. >> and the republican vote in these recall elections greatly underperformed what they did in november. >> exactly, different dynamic, and you've got to pay attention to that. >> to that point, just to be clear, the republicans certainly tried to mobilize against the democrats, we're mad that you left the state sort of and launched the half-hearted recall efforts against the democrats. i think we feel at least in the states, maybe it's not true in national politics, we are seeing a pendulum swinging the other way. do you see that? >> i do see a swing, and what i've said is what needs to happen and i think is happening on the left, the progressive left, is a voice beginning to emerge. the problem is they haven't gal galvanize galvanized. >> that's not going to translate in maryland or california. whereas for the tea party movement, it was much more
around the constitution and government, the role of government in your life and my life. now, you may disagree with my view on it, but i'm going to make the case anyway and that's a very different type of movement versus what you see happening on the left. >> this is a great moment to close because i completely disagree with you on that, it's a mobilized base nation. >> no, it's not. the tea party is not just republicans. the tea party is libertarians, it's a cross section of people, blue dog democrats. >> no, it's not. no, it's not. >> rachel, i hate to disagree with you, but i met a lot of these people between september and november of last year, so i know what their profile is. >> if you can see any daylight between the republican party, religious right base, you believe in their branding. >> that's a different argument, rachel, because that religious
component was not the initial thrust of the tea party. that's been a position a lot of tea party activists -- >> people who call themselves tea partiers is identify the poll results. >> that's what i'm saying. go back to where it started, february 2009, when i had my first meeting with this fledgling group of voters, it was not about that. >> michael steele, i love disagreeing with you. >> same here, same here. >> i really like talking about stuff, particularly when you're completely wrong, you're so nice about it. >> same here, same here. this is the part i try to bring you to your senses and make you appreciate you may be tanned and beautiful, but we have to -- >> i'm so glad you're here, thank you. really good news about there not being a nuclear end of the world.
it takes about 40 pounds of highly enriched uranium to build a bomb, not just a dirty bomb, but a nuclear bomb, mushroom cloud, the whole thing. once you have the 40 pounds, making a bomb is not the hardest thing in the world. back in 2005 the bush administration loaded how to make a bomb. even if you do not have at
instructions handed to you on a silver platter by the bush administration, building a nuclear bomb is something that can be done, even by civilians. after the u.s. military dropped a pair of bombs on hiroshima and nag even though it took years to design and build it, a few decades later, a college drop out photographer turned truck driver from wisconsin managed to create an exact replica of the bomb in his workshop. he managed to reverse engineer the hiroshima nuclear bomb and build one from scratch. >> i was told at the outset that you will never know, we can't tell you, we will never tell you, and you will never find this out what's inside. it's all still a state secret.
it's still class fied secret. >> this is my drawing of little boy. this is the one harold put his finger on it, looked at me, said where did you get this drawing it looked real enough for him, i said i made that drawing, and you could have knocked him over. then he waved his hand over it, how did you know where this stuff was? >> there's still a working nuclear weapon and they don't want that information out there. i'm a truck driver, i didn't finish my university degree, i drive semis for a living. if i can figure this out -- >> that clip was from a great documentary called "the atomic trucker." you can watch it at our blog if you are so inclined. it's great. the point here is that nuclear bombs can be built and assembled. it's not easy, but it's not impossible. that's why experts on nuclear weapons and terrorism generally can see the single hardest thing about assembling a nuclear bomb
is getting your hands on the 40 pounds of nuclear material, not building the bomb itself. of course, if you're not interested in a mushroom cloud, then any good amount of radioactive material should suffice for that. of course, the more radioactive the material, the better. over the past decade or so, we have been trying to get our hands on the material, there is a black market for it. in 2010, four men were caught trying to smuggle material out of south africa. the men were arrested at a gas station and charged with trying to sell a quantity of radioactive material called cesium 137. cesium 137 is the kind of thing nuclear terrorism experts say could be found in a dirty bomb attack. asking price, about $6 million. along with what the smugglers
said was some sort of industrial nuclear device. two years earlier in 2007, two separate groups of armed gunmen broke into a nuclear facility that's home to the country's most sensitive nuclear material and secrets. a year after the break in, "60 minutes" documented the assault. >> the men had breached a 10,000 volt fence, passed security cameras, and walked three quarters of a mile to the control room that monitors alarms and responds to emergencies, but the attack on the control room was just the start. a second group of gunmen on the other side of the plant was cutting through the fence and opened fire on the guard. you think they were after the heu? >> highly enriched uranium. the men shot a security guard, seized a laptop, then dropped the laptop.
authorities still say they don't know who did it. a few years before the break in, it was south africa again, a south african businessman charged with nuclear trafficking in connection with with pakistan. the 53-year-old businessman who owned a engineering plant in south africa charged with illegally importing and exporting nuclear material. if you're somebody who stays up at night worrying about loose nuclear material getting into the wrong hands, then one place worrying you is south africa. apparently they have a rich supply of black market operators, some with guns, trying to get it. it is for that reason that today's news having to deal with nuclear material in south brought it back to the united states. it arrived here safe and sound
yesterday and is under lock and key, and that is great news for two reasons. one, that's 14 less pounds of nuclear material in south africa, but two, it is jet another reminder that we have a whole team of people in this country that freaking does this. this is a u.s. government priority, trained people locking up and securing the most dangerous material in the world to keep it off of what is a very real and worrying black market. again, it's the n.n.s.a., the national nuclear security administration, department of saving the world, which has to date recovered more than 3,000
kilograms of highly enriched uranium and plutonium around the world and made it safe. that's enough to build 150 nuclear bombs. for all of that work, was put on the chopping block this year by republicans in congress, because as you know, it's a government agency and government is bad, government doesn't do anything right. house republicans this year proposed a $647 million cut at the n.n.s.a. because, you know, sharia law. we hate npr, i don't know why they did it. he has been talking about proposals to create jobs in this country, trying to create pressures to go along with his job creation things.
road building and school building projects, congressional republicans are saying no, no, no so far to all of those ideas. when the president said today he'd be releasing more larger scale job proposals in september over and above the smaller scale ones the republicans are already saying no to, the response from republican house speaker john boehner's office turned the snark level up to stunned, a spokesman for john boehner tweeting in response, "we really don't need another speech, just a plan on paper, seriously, just drop it in the mail." this is what john boehner is like as speaker of the house. the president announces job creation ideas, he rejects, big job creation plan, the speaker says plan, where is this plan? that's the announcement. when somebody says here comes this plan, you don't respond with where is the plan. who even does that? what is the congressional republicans' plan this year anyway? what would an america run by john boehner's republicans look like now? the "the washington post" looked at that today, what they have
said yes to and taken action on and expressed themselves ability, the highlights, their plan, voted to get rid of medicare by privatizing it, they have voted to stop regulating mountain top removing mining at the federal level, voted to eliminate federal funding for npr, they voted to repeal health reform and eliminate all three federal programs that help people in danger of foreclosure and proposed $647 million be cut from the guys who just brought 14 pounds of highly enriched uranium out of south africa today to keep it off the international black market and what it takes to build a nuclear bomb. that's the plan. joining us now is democratic congressman ed markey of massachusetts, member of the house commerce and energy committee. congressman, thank you very much for your time tonight, i appreciate it.
as you can tell, i get energized by proposed cuts to the nuclear administration. is there a real threat the cuts go through, on a day like today after we find out what they did in south africa, is the funding really at risk? >> absolutely it's at risk and is going to be increasingly at risk. obviously, when leon panetta, and i love him as the secretary of defense, says that he's afraid about doomsday cuts in the defense budget, there's going to be pressure put by the defense contractors in our country on things that they think are more vulnerable and the nuclear security administration will be right on that list. there's a little agency. it doesn't make nuclear weapons, it doesn't have gold-plated arsonal of weapons on their planning boards. it just takes uranium and plutonium out of countries that could potentially create nuclear
weapons, so this little tiny agency that's like a peaceful s.e.a.l. team 6 that goes into south africa, brings out the highly enriched uranium, makes the world safer, its budget is going to be on the table because nuclear bomb prevention is not nearly as attractive as nuclear bomb production, and believe it or not, there are $700 billion worth of new nuclear weapons programs on the planning boards for the next ten years in the federal budget right now. >> on the broad issue of what can get through the house right now about john boehner's gateway role and what can pass the congress, the president is making small job creation proposals, says he's going to make large scale proposals next month, do you believe that the political environment is changing so that republicans
might say yes to anything or we in no, no, no mode for a long time yet? >> i think when the president says that he wants job creations programs that the republicans are going to say no, you know, that's going to help you get reelected, mr. president, that might actually put people back to work, but when democrats say you know what, we've got to cu some of these defense programs, they are going to say that's a jobs program. the defense budget is a jobs program, no, it is not. the defense budget is a security program, and it cannot be allowed to basically savage the nuclear security administration under the nufgs that it creates more jobs if at the same time the republicans are saying to the president when it comes to job building through new roads, new bridges, all the way down the line that that is something that is off the table. this is going to be a hypocrisy on stilts before the end of this year, and the president just
bronze statue of him. it will feature exhibits about hemingway's life and work in cuba. will it serve daquari's? he's sure the bar will not serve them by the bucket which is the way hemingway ordered them to go. the gentleman at the not embassy also told us the bar will not be open to the public because, of course, we still don't have relations with cuba, so the even if you do get invited to the bar, the drinks will have to be free, right?